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Families Reunite to Remember Their History

Members of the Garside-Ratcliffe families gather to commemorate contributions their ancestors had to Wayne.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of commuters travel on Garside Avenue each day. Most of them probably don’t give a second’s thought to how the street got its name.

There’s history behind that name. Two families' history.

The Garside and Ratcliffe families gathered to celebrate some of that history this weekend. A new plaque commemorating the contributions of the families to Wayne was dedicated at the James Roe Memorial Pool off of Garside Avenue and Ratcliffe Road on Saturday. A tombstone of one of relatives, Mary Underwood, was moved to the property and dedicated.

The original ancestors, Abram and Esther Garside came to the United States in 1827. They settled in Wayne in 1844. The families become blood relatives when Jessie Garside married James Ratcliffe.

Seven generations of the families have lived in town. Many of the ancestors played important roles in the development of the area.

The family owned hundreds of acres of land near the pool and built several homes in the area, many of which still exist.

Marianne Smith, a Garside descendant, helped write a book of the family’s history.

“I’ve always been interested in piecing the story together,” said Smith. “When I went to piece everything together, I discovered there wasn’t a lot of information out there.”

Family members developed and built the Preakness Shopping Center on Hamburg Turnpike.

Some served in elected office in county and local government.

James Ratcliffe was a founding member of Preakness Fire Co. No. 4 in town served on the Passaic County Freeholder board. His son John was a town councilman for 23 years.

“Their contributions to Wayne were so important and helped shaped the character of what our town is,” said Mayor Chris Vergano.

— Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Daniel Hubbard at Daniel.Hubbard@patch.com or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

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